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Make Your Graphic Designer Resume Stand Out: Examples and Tips

Create a graphic designer resume that shows off your design skills and creative strengths using these graphic design resume examples and tips.

Donna Wright Profile
By Donna Wright

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Tips for your graphic design resume

Graphic designers create the visuals needed for everything from marketing materials, educational diagrams and website advertisements. To appeal to hiring managers in need of a graphic designer you need a resume guide especially tailored to the position.

Our resume templates for graphic designers are fashioned to help you get the job you deserve by highlighting your relevant skills and competencies. A pleasing layout is important for all resumes, but as a designer you’ll need to show that you work well with clients, have excellent campaign and marketing experience and are able to meet deadlines.

This article will go over some examples of what to include in your graphic design resume sample outside of the basic tools required for the position. We will provide you with the tools that will help you:

  • Build an expert graphic designer resume by using our resume examples as a foundation.
  • Utilize our step-by-step advice to write and format your own graphic designer resume.
  • Create a great accompanying graphic designer cover letter with help from our Cover Letter Builder and formatting tips.
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What skills employers look for in a graphic designer resume

Graphic designers work to bring art and technology together with proper design principles and advanced software, which requires advanced technical skills and creative skills. Most graphic designers work alongside other creative professionals, so soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, are equally important in managing and acquiring new clients.

Below are some examples of both hard skills and soft skills that graphic designers should consider including on their resumes:

Top hard skills:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Adobe Photoshop, Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign)
  • Web design software (HTML, Dreamweaver, CSS, Java)
  • Typography
  • Motion graphics
  • User interface and user experience (UX and UI design)
  • Social media
  • Branding

Top soft skills:

The skills section of your graphic design resume is extremely crucial, so be sure to pay attention to the noted skills in the description of the job you’re applying for and make sure to include only your most relevant skills.

Choosing the right format for your graphic design resume

Deciding how to layout your graphic design resume to showcase your best skills is an ongoing process in your career journey, as your experience level and skills grow. There are three main types of resume formats you can choose from: chronological, combination and functional. Deciding which one works best depends on the skills you can highlight for the role, your education, work experiences and any shifts you may have had in your career. While employers are most familiar with chronological resumes, the graphic design field tends to be more lenient when it comes to functional resumes. Remember that no matter which format you choose, you need to have a great opening section that highlights key skills, a professional summary that is effective, and the right keywords to pass ATS.

The best format for your resume depends on your skills and experience:

  1. Chronological resume format: also known as a reverse-chronological resume, this is the most common format, focusing on work history. Recruiters and hiring managers are most used to seeing chronological resumes.
  2. Functional resume format: Emphasizes skills and training, and can be helpful when you don’t have a lot of work history, have been out of the workforce for a long period of time or have mainly been academically focused.
  3. Combination resume format: A good choice if you are applying to jobs in areas outside of your field of study or relevant experience, as it highlights both transferable skills and work experiences.

Overall, no matter what position you are applying for, you need to format your resume to make it professional yet easy to read. Writing a concise, brief resume that accurately reflects your skills, work experience and best qualities will give hiring managers a good idea of what you can do for the company. ResumeHelp’s Resume Builder can help you format a professional resume in just minutes.

When designing your resume, make sure to also showcase your design skills while emphasizing readability. Don’t go too overboard with visuals that take away from the important information listed on your resume. With that being said, if you decide to utilize color, do it minimally and tastefully and if you need some inspiration for your designs, ResumeHelp has a range of easily formattable templates that can fit your needs.

Regardless of whether you use a template or build a resume from scratch, most potential employers will look at your resume design as a sneak peek of your design skills so keep that in mind whether you’re showing off your work history with a chronological resume, your balance of experience and skills with a combination format or your transferable skills and unique experiences with a functional resume.

How to write a graphic design resume

1. Header and contact information

Your resume header should contain crucial information such as your full name, your phone number, LinkedIn and additional contact information like portfolio links. Make sure to select a header that is easy to read and isn’t too boxy or distracting.

2. Summary or objective statement

Your resume summary or resume objective statement may only be a few sentences long but it’s key to grabbing employers’ attention. A summary, which is preferred by most job seekers with experience, is an overview of your best skills, work achievements and qualifications that is specifically tailored to the company. While an objective is used to tell a recruiter what your career goals are and your reasoning for applying to the role, its focus is on your career path.

If you are trying to decide if you should use an objective statement instead of a summary, here are some situations where they could be helpful:

  • Early career experiences: Objective statements can be helpful in explaining why there isn’t much experience on a resume; the applicant simply wants a chance at an entry-level position. For example: Recent graphic design grad with substantial portfolio seeking contract position to contribute my design skills.
  • A Mid-career switch: Resumes can appear confusing if the job candidate has switched career fields. For example, maybe you worked in retail for 10 years before deciding that you wanted a more creative career and went back to school to get your graphic design degree. The resume may initially look like a retail resume, but you’re applying for a graphic design role. Objective statements can explain this quickly, so the hiring manager isn’t left to wonder: “Recent graphic design graduate with a previous career in retail seeking opportunity to demonstrate my skills and passion for the field of design.”
  • You’re seeking promotion: Let’s say you’ve been a graphic designer but you’ve recently gone back to school to become an art director. You’re applying for that new role, but your resume doesn’t reflect that new title yet. Objective statements can signal your intention to move up a level: Experienced senior graphic designer seeking upward career opportunity managing a team as art director.

An example of an objective statement for a graphic designer would be:
Creative graphic artist and designer with talent for developing unique custom artwork. Adept at thinking out of the box and able to display prowess for traditional design fundamentals. Looking for a new role with the goal of inspiring others through creative expertise and presentation of marketing concepts.

Just like with your cover letter or the rest of your resume, you should be customizing your summary statement and tweaking it when needed for specific positions. This is particularly important for mid- to late-career professionals so keep relevant experiences in mind for both this section and your other documents. Does the employer want someone adaptable? Write about the time you revamped your design completely after a company changed its strategy at the last minute. Are they looking for someone with excellent technical skills? Explain how you became the mentor for your team, the “go-to” person for Adobe Suite questions, because of your vast technical knowledge. Whatever the application calls for, find an experience that fits the need.

Here are a few things to consider when crafting your summary:

  • Review the job listing and look for keywords, specific responsibilities, highlighted skills or other clues that tell you what’s most important for that particular job and use some of the words you pulled from the job listing in your summary statement, as appropriate.
  • Keep the roles and skills that are most relevant for the job; cut the roles or skills that aren’t. Think about experiences where you exemplified qualities you know hiring managers want.
  • Add in adjectives, nouns or phrases that match the job listing exactly, if needed.
  • Review your summary statement one last time and try to find a few ways to make it more specific.

A summary statement should look like this:
Deadline-driven graphic designer focused on overseeing projects from concept through final delivery. Successful at creating brand messages, strategies and key graphic productions. Highly effective at collaborating with artistic, project, production and administrative leadership to complete tasks according to budget and schedule goals.

3. Showcase key skills from the job posting

For your skills section, have your most relevant skills that best suit the job you are applying for near the top of your document. You can create specific skills sections for programming languages or specific design software and provide a detailed showcase of your soft skills in either a Professional Skills or Summary of Qualifications section, depending on the format. Make sure to read the job description thoroughly and incorporate the skills and requirements they are looking for, paying special attention to things like years of experience for a particular program or discipline, e.g., an employer wanting someone with “three or more years of expertise using Adobe Creative Cloud, Figma and Keynote.”

Other resume skills examples to include in your skills sections would be:

Interpersonal skills such as:

Technical skills such as:

  • Adobe AfterEffects
  • Motion graphics
  • Google Suite programs (e.g., Google Slides)
  • Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator

4. Work experience section

Depending on your level of experience and the role you want, your work experience section is going to be the heart of your resume. To construct this section, list your jobs in order (most recent job first), your years of experience, and highlight primary responsibilities and accomplishments while working in that position. Make sure to use examples, utilize numerical values and showcase the results of your big accomplishments.

Here’s what that could look like: Created innovative design packages to elevate, differentiate and drive on-brand initiatives, and increased sales by 25% of brands such as Hershey’s and Biotique.

5. Education

List your top academic achievements such as your college or more advanced school degrees in your education section, with your most recent credential first, along with any awards or honors, and any relevant training programs you’ve completed.

6. Additional sections:

In addition to the basic resume sections above you can also showcase certifications or relevant affiliations (i.e., with a professional networking group for graphic design), as well as any examples of recognition of your work, like awards.

Extra sections you can consider for a graphic design resume include:

  • Design programs
  • Presentations
  • Languages
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Affiliations
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More graphic design resume suggestions and examples

If you want to make the best impression with your graphic designer resume you need to be able to adapt to changes quickly and have a set of versatile and well designed templates that can help your documents be professional and readable. ResumeHelp has many resources which could help you to create the perfect resume for your next job opportunity.

Check out these resources if you are looking for just the right way to present your resume:

5 Quick tips for your graphic designer portfolio

Linking employers to an excellent graphic design portfolio is a must for most jobs in this field so make sure that your online portfolio is ready for the application process. Use these tips to make sure your best work is front and center.

1

Emphasis range and context.

Make sure the samples of your work show a range of styles, products and audiences to give your work experience some context, and remember to update your portfolio along with your resume so that you’re providing only the most job relevant details.

2

Use clear labels, numbers and project titles.

These distinctions make it easy for hiring directors to remember designs or projects they like.

3

Choose the right online platform.

Spend some time researching options, so you can carefully curate the work you showcase.

4

Use your written content purposefully.

Your medium is visual; don’t detract from it with lengthy written descriptions or details that would fit better in a resume or cover letter.

5

Stay current with trends and industry updates.

Make sure your portfolio doesn’t become outdated. This can quickly turn off a hiring manager looking for something fresh and new.

Create your resume

Write a graphic designer cover letter to accompany your resume

Having an excellent graphic design cover letter is a plus when you’re applying to jobs, and if it’s mentioned in the job description, it is a must to include. Just like how you can tell the story of a product through your designs, a cover letter can be used to tell your career story and express your enthusiasm for the position. If you need help crafting your cover letter, ResumeHelp has plenty of cover letter writing tips, cover letter examples and a range of cover letter templates you can use to write the perfect accompaniment to your graphic design resume.

The big takeaways:

1

Do your research.

Make sure you’re adequately prepared by researching things like the company’s mission statement, history, culture and the skills they value.

2

Know how and where to show off your creativity.

Do some self analysis and group your best skills together to find the industry that’s right for you. ResumeHelp has tips on writing resumes for specific industries to help you get started.

3

Conceptualize the ideal “you.”

Just like with any design project, drawing attention to your most important accomplishments and skills is essential to getting your resume to the top of the stack. This means you have to take stock of your most significant skills and projects, and go from “the top down” to make sure that your best designs and collaborations are front and center.

4

Show off your online portfolio.

Being able to curate and present your work is essential for securing your next design job so you need to be able to figure out what projects are most relevant to what the company is looking for and modify both your social media profile and resume to match those key points.

5

Utilize your clients and network.

One of the best things you can show in your graphic design resume is your ability to analyze, diagram and effectively package the needs of others so in the short bullets of your resume or in a longer narrative in your cover letter, you can discuss the projects you are most proud of.

6

Communicate effectively.

Misunderstandings, repeat alterations and conflicts are the bane of both design and management teams alike. Showing through successful projects in your work history or through an excellent Summary of Qualifications that you can have an effective back and forth with clients that leaves them satisfied is a key tool for getting you a new position.

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FAQ: Graphic design resume

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Most hiring managers and applicant tracking systems (ATS) will prefer a chronological resume format for a graphic designer job but functional and combination formats can work too, as long as you’re presenting the right skills, experiences and achievements. For more on how to pick the right format, visit our resume formats page.

The best way to know what format and skills sections would work for your resume is to not just carefully review the job descriptions, but also look at different resume samples from your industry so you can get an idea of the structure and significant details you should have in your document. If you’re not sure where to begin when writing your graphic design resume, ResumeHelp has a collection of resume examples that can help you get a head start.

Graphic designers should structure a resume following the standard formats but you can add extra information to the header, such as any links that include portfolio samples or websites for your work (you can include this information in your cover letter as well, at the end of the document where you mention your enclosed resume). On a graphic design resume, try not to focus on unnecessary details. Feature relevant design projects in your work history section while keeping descriptions brief and impactful. You may be tempted to write every detail of your work experience and skills but writing too much can make your resume hard to read and overwhelm the hiring manager.

Employers looking for proof you’ve got the right hard skills and soft skills are going to use applicant tracking systems (ATS) based on the keywords found in their job description to assess whether your resume is showcasing the right points. This means the best way to know what skills to have on your resume is by paying close attention to the job description for the position you’re interested in and then customizing your resume to showcase those skills. It’s also important to note the minimum years of experience in the job description as well and include your own key metrics (years of experience, number of people managed, dollar amounts) as ATS can easily pick those up increasing your score and the higher your score, the better chance you have of getting your resume into the hands of a hiring manager.

You may be wondering what a CV, also known as a curriculum vitae, is if you have been asked to produce one, but an important thing to keep in mind is that for most positions in the United States, a CV is not required. You should produce the documents indicated in the job description only, meaning a resume and cover letter as the standard, and CVs or different letters of intent upon request. How thorough job seekers need to be with the information put on the page is the difference between a CV and a resume. A CV, for other countries, should include every element of your work and academic history and other relevant background information. A resume is a one-page document that is mainly focused on relevant work experiences and training that pertain to one particular field. Additionally, for some countries and specified industries, it may be appropriate or required to include your picture, hobbies, interests and various background details in your CV.

Your perfect graphic design resume is a balance of creativity and organization. Specific technical programs and skills that you need for the job, like Adobe Illustrator, will be listed in the job description and it is very important to include those key words and phrases. When describing other important skills, like your knowledge about design elements, provide a short sentence explaining your use of color and composition, for a big project in your work history or talk about successful client collaboration in your professional summary. Artistic ability and creativity are essential for this role but can be difficult to express in such a short space so it is important to quantify your skills with hard numbers and examples like dollar amounts, percentages or number of repeat clients.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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